Teen athlete Reagan Tyler wasn’t an experienced shooter to begin with, but all that is changing in the blink of an eye. What happens when you take a young person with the talent and dedication and expose them to the best trainers in the world? This question forms the premise of NRA Freestyle’s exciting new series, I Am Forever, sponsored by FNH USA. With former Green Beret John Wayne Walding handling the firearms and acclaimed fitness coach Isaiah Truyman covering all other aspects of athletic performance, we have the unique opportunity of seeing a novice become an accomplished shooter in an astonishingly short span of time.
In between high school and her extensive training regimen, Reagan made time to answer our questions about her upcoming show.
SHARP: The subject matter of this show was a lot of uncharted territory for you. What drew you to be on I Am Forever, sponsored by FNH USA?
Reagan Tyler: To me, uncharted territory is merely a new challenge. I Am Forever, sponsored by FNH USA has been very challenging overall, but what really sold me to be on the show was the number of new things I would learn, like how to shoot multiple kinds of firearms and use different skills to make myself a better shooter. You can spend a ton of time at a gym or range and not really improve much, so I jumped at the chance to learn from the experts. I’ve always been very athletic, but was honored to get to learn from some of the best coaches and shooters in the world!
S: What is your athletic background?
RT: When I was very young I played softball and then rode horses (equestrian hunter/jumper). I really enjoy being on a team, so I signed up for volleyball and qualified to play on a traveling competitive team when I was eleven. I fell in love with the sport and haven’t stopped playing for seven years. My team played all over the nation and at the USAV National Championships multiple years – even winning a 3rd place bronze medal when we were 15 years old. I also played volleyball for my high school, and we recently won the 6A State Championship – a great way to end my senior season! Other than volleyball, I love doing extreme sports such as riding dirt bikes and four wheelers, wake surfing at the lake and snowboarding. I enjoy going to the gym and have found that I really like training in combatives as a new challenge.
S: Without giving away too much from the show, any good examples of how Isaiah Truyman’s athletic coaching has helped you as a shooter? (Or how training with John Wayne Walding has boosted your athletic performance?)
RT: Isaiah is an amazing trainer and motivator. He has really helped me become an overall better athlete, and has pushed me to try new sports to cross train for shooting firearms. I was fairly familiar with firearms before the show started, but really only some casual shooting. It has been amazing to see how the smallest of changes in the details of a workout can translate directly into better shooting. I now have such an appreciation for how practicing different sports can play a huge part in being a great shooter-athlete – focus, breathing and running mechanics, for example. I’ve also come to really enjoy shooting all types of firearms. It is hard to find an activity that is so thrilling to do, but that can also possibly save your life or the lives of others.
John Wayne Walding has taught me so much! Just being around him is motivation enough to give it my all. I cannot tell you how cool it is to learn from one of the nation’s best shooters and a true American hero! He has trained me on all the firearms platforms, yet it is amazing how what he teaches – what he says, the important concepts he has me learn – apply to fitness, or most anything else in life! He really has been there and done that; his focus is always on what is important and what he knows firsthand will work for each shooter and in each situation. He has been right by my side through each shooting challenge and drill.
S: The program starts airing in March, but you’ve been active on social media as the star and even modeled for a 5.11 photo shoot. What is it like living so much of your life in the public eye?
RT: I’m not sure all of this has soaked in yet. As of right now, I don’t feel as if I’m living my life in the public eye. I loved doing the 5.11 photo shoot and really like to wear their clothes on the range and working out. This line is made for the shooter-athlete! It was cool to see the finished photos on the Web.
Social media is getting so popular in general, it seems pretty normal for me to be posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook every week. As the episodes roll out, this could change. I have learned so far that the firearm community is a great group of people that follow and support each other, and it will be fun to see how big the appeal of athletic shooting really is. I think it brings a whole new dimension and hopefully will attract lots of new shooters. Shooting as a sport is fun, requiring focus and precision, and it works hand in hand with being an athlete. Being in the public eye is really the whole point of the show: to show my growth in the sport and encourage viewers of all ages and athletic ability to get out and try something new – even train with me each week.
S: What are some of the other ways this experience has changed your life? Any pivotal moments we should be looking for on the show?
RT: Wow! Not only has the show changed my life, but the people I’ve had the chance to meet have as well. Really, most everything about this project has been life- changing. I’ve learned that training the right way pays off big time as it relates to improving my shooting.
As for pivotal moments, in one episode I was required to run a long way, then focus intently on making long-distance shots with a bolt gun – that was very eye-opening. So much focus is required to settle yourself when your heart is beating out of your chest, to not get frustrated, to adjust and find a way to make the shot. That stuff is real life and really one of the times that stuck out as an “aha!” moment and turning point for me. In those moments, it is just you and what is on the other side of that scope; you are completely in your bubble, and it seems like the world stops spinning for a moment while you do your thing. As an athlete, we live for those moments.
S: What are your dreams for the next stage of your life after high school? Is your involvement in I Am Forever, sponsored by FNH USA changing any of that?
RT: After high school, I’m headed off to college! I’ve enjoyed this show so much that I’ve changed what I want to study and will probably pursue Advertising, Public Relations or Marketing. I’ve met some incredible people during this project and have really become interested in both the creative and business side of producing shows like this. Or, of course, being cast as the female counterpart in the Bourne series soon, or as an operative in some government agency sounds pretty great, too! But until that day comes, I’ve had some great exposure to our nation’s veterans and special ops experts, so I hope to keep up those relationships and do what I can to stay involved with them.
One day, I’d like to create a product or project with purpose like NRA Freestyle did with I Am Forever, sponsored by FNH USA. My dream is that it will reach a nation of people and make a difference. I also plan to always remain healthy and physically fit, and of course continue training to be a good shot!